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Steel Dyno Commuter

I’ve biked in the dark for years using battery lights.  Over the past few seasons I’ve used various Planet Bike lights, and put up with the  fading light on my hour commute home.  I was contemplating getting a lithium-ion rechargeable that a friend had recommended (Exposure Toro), but a nagging little voice kept bugging me to try a dyno and be free of the battery mess.

I finally picked out a Shimano/Mavic dynamo hub/rim combo from Universal Cycles for a buck 50, and called Peter White for some lights.  I went with the B&M IQ CYO RT

B&M IQ CYO RT Headlight

and Toplight Line Plus.

B&M Toplight Line Plus Taillight

As the wheel came with no instructions, I had to dig them up on the web.  I found the manual in the Shimano docs.

The only tricky part was figuring out which wire was ground (white stripe) and where it goes on the hub connector (the side with the little graphic).  I mounted the light to the fork crown.  Once that was done, I just zip tied the front light wire to my fork, taped the tail light wire under the top tube, zip tied it out the rack and up to the tail light that I mounted on the back of a Wald Large basket.  I used a couple large washers to hold it to the rack wires, and it turned out solid and lined up well.

Wald Washer Mount for Taillight

I left all the extra wire to the tail light and just looped the excess under the rack so I would have it if I ever mounted it on another bike.  I coiled the extra front light wire around the fork by the connector for the same reason.

Extra wire near hub

On my beam alignment first ride, I found that the perfect beam happened when I had the face of the CYO at exactly 90 degrees.  As it’s also a reflector, I figure this is just due to precision engineering.  I also found that my iPhone app, Clinometer, has become one of the most effective tools to have in the bike kit.


For what it’s worth, I ride between 12-17 mph on my commute, but there are large sections where I’m doing under 9 mph on hills.  I haven’t over-run the light yet on my 30+ mph downhill blasts, but most of my fast downhill sections are well lit streets.

I’m sold.  I will now be adding this same lighting setup to my A. Homer Hilsen next season.  It’s super great to not have to worry about batteries, and I find myself going to my “rain” bike just so I can ride this light combo home at night.  It’s much better than the 2 watt Planet Bike Blaze (at over twice the price…) I’ve used now for 2 seasons.  That light tends to have a poor definition, and the B&M has such great focus, it truly cuts off at waist level when riding, so it’s not blasting folks on the trail coming towards me.  I get much better close field light, and there is noticable light to either side in front of me. It’s also always the same!  No more of the guessing if the batteries are starting to die.  Just consistently bright light.  Love it!